FEBRUARY 22, 2013
President Obama loves to tout the success of a multi-billion-dollar early education program that supposedly helps reduce poverty, yet a government study reveals that it really doesn’t work.
Obama keeps pushing the federally-funded universal preschool program known as Head Start even though his own Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has determined that it’s ineffective. Remember how he cited “study after study” showing that the government’s investment in universal preschool pays for itself during the State of Union earlier this month?
It turns out that one of those studies, published last fall by his own HHS, reveals that Head Start isn’t working despite its whopping $8 billion a year price tag. In fact, children who participated in Head Start did worse in math and had problems with social interactions by third grade than those who didn’t go through the federal program.
“There were initial positive impacts from having access to Head Start, but by the end of 3rd grade there were very few impacts….in any of the four domains of cognitive, social-emotional, health and parenting practices,” according to the HHS study. “The few impacts that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children.”
Yet the president is committed to the program and will keep pouring more money into it. His White House education web site explains that Head Start “helps prevent achievement gaps before they start” because the program will provide children from disadvantaged backgrounds with a strong start and a foundation for school success. “Expanding access to high quality early childhood education is among the smartest investments that we can make,” according to the White House site.
Public education— from kindergarten through 12th grade—has long been available for free in the U.S., but parents must pay to send their children to preschool. This creates a disadvantage for those who can’t afford it, according to the Obama administration. So the government must step in with the federally-funded Head Start.
The goal is to “boost the school readiness of low-income children.” The program is based on the “whole child” model and also provides “comprehensive services” such as medical, dental, mental health care and nutritional services designed around a family’s ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage. Thank you Uncle Sam!
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